Saturday 26 November 2022

New Checklist, new Sales list, and only one prize.

Yes it is prize time, because the magic 5,555,555 page views has been reached - and well passed, so I think a lot of people must have been looking - bad luck to those who missed it.  More about this at the foot of this report.

New: Checklist version 2.6.5

Now that the last of this year's Machin definitives has appeared - and maybe the last of all - I've prepared a new checklist.  However this won't be the last because of errors in Stanley Gibbons' allocation of numbers for some of the stamps issued in Prestige Books.

It's all explained in detail in the list, and I can't begin to guess what Gibbons might do because they need three new tables or sub-tables in the Barcoded section, the V numbers.  Download or view the latest pdf version here or come back later to the usual link in the right-had 'LINKS' table.

New: Sales list of Country Definitives

We've at last had time to prepare a list of Country Definitive stamps, from the very first with no white borders, up to but excluding the change of typeface issue.  This includes self-adhesive singles from Smilers sheets - and there are three versions of some of those - and singles & panes from Prestige Stamp Books.

Also in the list are national flags and decimal Wildings which are not subject to invalidation under Royal Mail's scheme.  

CORRECTION:  W99 xa is Cartor not DLR.

Quantities are shown in many cases: this is to give you an idea of how quickly you might need to order as for some stamps we have very few in stock.  There are many where we have no singles only cylinder and/or date blocks but if you require these, please include them in your lists and we will break the blocks.  Likewise there are no numbers for the Wildings but they are available. These of course you can delay ordering.

Everything unsold will be traded in to Royal Mail for a quantity of barcoded stamps which we shall find difficult to use, so discounts are available for large orders, and we're open to suggestions on prices for quantity purchases.  And remember if you buy at under current face you now have until 31 July 2023 to use them for postage!

Prize Time - 5 is a magic number.

Congratulations to CB of Solihull who successfully captured the roll-over to 5,555,555 page views on the blog, and send it at 2.16 am, and commiserations to everybody else who thought they could wake up at a sensible time and claim the prize!

Click on the image to see it full-size.

Your prize will be on its way during next week and with luck you will get it before Christmas. Thanks for taking part.

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Swap-out error

I didn't intend to write again so soon about the Swap scheme, but this is worthy of a post by itself.

I have read about such cases: I know some were on social media, I can't remember whether anybody commenting here has had the same problems.   

"Thousands of customers .... have mistakenly told they weren't received.  In a major blunder almost 3,000 customers received a letter last week incorrectly stating that there were no stamps enclosed with their Swap Out form."

It defies belief really, but good to see that RM have put their hands up and acknowledged - and corrected - their error.

From Daily Mail, mid-November 2022

Comments on the main post please. 

Sunday 20 November 2022

Invalidating non-barcoded definitives: a summary consolidation

Despite an update on this blog a few days ago, there are still comments being added to the earlier posts drawing attention to something which has since been reported.  This is as much my fault for not linking those blogposts together, so I am doing so now.

Please read through carefully before asking questions either by email or in comments.  Any comments/questions which are clearly answered here will not be posted or answered. If you don't get an answer from me, then please read it again.  If I have misunderstood, email me again.  I just don't have time to do a stand-in job for Royal Mail's team.

 It is quite possible I have made errors, although I try not to. I hope nobody suffers a loss due to anything they rely on here, but this is purely my interpretation of what has been published by Royal Mail and the stated experience of others and I can accept no liability for any errors.


1. To repeat the latest news:

Official statement from Royal Mail's Matthew Parkes, Managing Director Stamps and Collectibles :


[1a] Royal Mail is transitioning to digital, barcoded stamps in order to provide new and innovative future services for our customers. In order to give our customers even more time to use up any remaining non-barcoded stamps, we have decided to introduce a six month grace period starting from the original deadline of January 31 2023 where non-barcoded definitive stamps will still be delivered as normal. 


[1b] To make things even easier for our customers, we have also agreed with Post Office to include swap out forms alongside Freepost envelopes in Post Office branches. This means that customers will be able to fill out a form, insert it into a freepost envelope with any remaining non-barcoded stamps and hand it over for posting in a Post Office branch.


AS CONTEXT for editors


[1c] Royal Mail first announced the transition to barcoded stamps in February 2022. Under the original scheme, Royal Mail had planned to stop accepting letters bearing non-barcoded stamps into its network from January 31.


[1d] Customers will not be out of pocket as there is no end date as to when customers should swap their non-barcoded stamps by. Customers will still be able to access the “Swap out” option after 31 January 2023. The process of swapping out is free and we are sending a leaflet and a swap out form to all 31 million UK addresses to make this even easier.

2. This is said to be not an extension of the deadline, but a 'grace period' during which Royal Mail will not surcharge items which are partly or wholly prepaid in 'invalidated' stamps.  Do not expect a further change to the Terms and Conditions.  Effectively it means everybody has until 31 July 2023 to use their old stamps.  There is still no end-date for swapping any that you have.


Volumes and delays.

3. It seem that Royal Mail can no longer meet their initial promise of turning round Swap-Out forms within 7 days.  I understand that many people have experienced longer delays but this might be expected from the volume of applications - which Royal Mail probably grossly underestimated.  Recent press comment - although it mainly referred to people not being aware due to a lack of publicity - will have contributed to that increased volume.

So I don't think anybody should get worried about a delay of 2-3 weeks.   

What's in and What's out.

4. In describing the stamps which will or will not be invalidated Royal Mail have used the terms 'valid (for) postage' and 'valid for swap(-out)': I will try to avoid such confusion.

4a. Will be invalidated

(i) All unbarcoded national Machin definitives, large and small, from the 10p cerise through to date, including the large format Parcel Post high values, Profile in Print PSB, embossed £1 gold, and £5 Accession Anniversary stamps.  

(ii) All country definitives, with Machin profile and national emblem, and the pictorial ones with the small cameo head.

(iii) All substitute definitives: Queen Victoria/Queen Elizabeth double-heads, the original and the later 20p and 1st class; both Olympic definitives (1st class and airmail).

(iv) Smilers/Generic sheets containing country definitives, excluding those with the St George's flag, the Welsh Dragon flag, and the Scottish Saltire. 

4b What will not be invalidated

(i)  Frama stamps, Post and Go stamps of any kind;

(ii) Decimal Wildings; Decimal Wilding Regionals; Wilding Castles (I think the pre-decimal £1 will be OK because Royal Mail won't see it as old);

(iii) Definitive-sized commemoratives: Dr Who, Game of Thrones, Poppy, Union Flag, Dragon, Saltire and St George's flags, Music Giants - Queen, Greetings/Smilers excluding country definitives in 4a(ii) above.

(iv) Christmas stamps of any sort and size from 1971 to date.

(v) Commemorative/Special/Greetings stamps from 1971 to date. 

(vi) Smilers/Generic sheets containing the St George's flag, the Welsh Dragon flag, the Scottish Saltire, Poppy, and any small-size greetings stamps.

4c What may be swapped (although some in 4b above).

(i)  Mixed content retail booklets for the whole value.

(ii) Mixed Prestige Book panes, ie those with a mix of Machin or Country definitives and others.

(iii) Some complete Prestige Books (ie those not containing special stamps): 

all up to and including DX10 1989 Scots Connection
DX14 Tolkien
DX22 Profile on Print
DX24 Special by Design
DX39 Machin Anniversary
DY21 Machin 50th Anniversary

(iv) Miniature sheets which contain any Machin or country definitive even if they contain other stamps will be exchanged for the complete value, or the invalidated stamps may be extracted from them. Examples (this list is not complete): Lest We Forget, Diamond Jubilee, Long To Reign Over Us, Robert Burns (2009), Celebrating England, Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales.


4d. What may be swapped but we think will still be valid for postage.

(i)  Castles definitives

(ii) £10 Britannia definitive 

(iii) Special stamps contained in miniature sheets if sent in complete (see 4c (iv) above).


4e. What will not be accepted for swapping despite containing stamps in section 4a

(i) Some whole Prestige Books: 

DX11 London Life
DX13 Wales
DX15 Agatha Christie
DX16 Northern Ireland
DX17 National Trust
DX18 Euro96
...and all later unless mentioned above in 4c(iii)

The Process and a warning about Post Offices

5. Two forms are available from Royal Mail, one for sendings of under £200 and one for over £200. (see details in original post below.)  

6. There is a short Freepost address which has caused problems for some users at some Post Offices which have refused to provide a certificate of posting.  This makes it difficult to make a claim if no stamps are returned from the Swap-Out.  We recommend that you use this address:

Royal Mail Swap Out
Tallents House
21 South Gyle Crescent
EH12 9GT

You can also copy & save the image to print it onto an envelope.

7.  Following distribution of a leaflet to all/most households in the summer, Royal Mail allowed stamps to be sent in on plain paper accompanied by the complete leaflet or a copy of the reverse of it.


What you get back.

8.  Royal Mail originally said that stamps would be replaced on a like-for-like basis, ie send in 5p and 2nd class, get back 5p and 2nd class.  Any stamps with no direct equivalent (E, Worldwide Posctard, 13p, 68p, £1.33 etc) would be aggregated and divided by the value of a 2nd class stamp (rounded up) and replaced with 2nd class stamps, and this is how the scheme worked for the first few months.

9.  This was changed in July to "... we will typically return to you 2nd class barcoded stamps although we may at our discretion return alternative barcoded stamps, including, for example, where the aggregated value of the stamps is lower than the value of a 2nd class stamp." 

10.  So you may get anything - indeed there is a report of a single E stamp being replaced by a £1.85 or others by a £2.55 stamp.  One thing this does mean, is that you might send in a lot of stamps for which there is no barcoded equivalent and get back fewer stamps than you expected.  For instance for mixed £25 worth you might get just over 26 x 1st class stamps instead of 36 x 2nd class stamps.

11.  Royal Mail have indicated to some people that, now that the country definitives have been issued with barcodes, they will be used to replace similar stamps sent in.  I haven't tested this yet.  Country definitives or regionals do NOT including decimal Wildings issued on the 50th anniversary of the originals.

Oops you made a mistake

12.  So, you mistakenly include in your sending a very small percentage of loose stamps listed in 4b above.  If this really is only a few/small percentage it seems that Royal Mail are swapping them rather than wasting time sending them back. (Aside from anything else many of these are gummed and if you've stuck them on their form they can't easily extract them to send them back to you!)   But I have to stress that these are from individual reports and include only a few stamps which are not to be invalidated.

UPDATE 23 November - Oops, THEY made a mistake.

13. I've put this on a separate post as it is so mind-blowing but any comments on it should be here please.


UPDATE 13 December.  My thanks to Tim C who reminded me of something I should have included in this post originally.

Tim points out that (especially after the effect of strikes) postage rates will increase next year, maybe earlier than usual (but not 1 January*).  So if you are using stamps for postage, use the ones with values which have no direct equivalents.  Currently 2 x 34p stamps = 2nd class.  Some time next year, 2 x 34p stamps will be short and you will need to pay more, whereas a 2nd class stamp will be good for 2nd class after the rates rise.

* Royal Mail have to give one month's notice to the Stock Exchange about price rises. That hasn't happened yet so there will be no rates rise until at least 13 January.

UPDATE 17 January.  There have been suggestions that Post Offices will not accept letters and packets with non-barcoded stamps after 31 January 2023.  I asked in my Crown PO today and was told that this was not true: they have been specifically told that they should continue to accept them as normal.

On the other hand the Royal Mail Special Handstamp Centres will not accept items for postmarking with a date after 31 January which have non-barcoded definitives on.

UPDATE 30 JANUARY:   Royal Mail have recently confirmed that they made what they say was a very complicated change to their Swap-Out software/database to ensure that people sending in stamps with the Europe rate (E, Europe 20/40g) would get £1.85 bar-coded replacements.

Tim C (see earlier) has pointed out that whilst this may have solved a problem which we all wish they had addressed before the scheme launched, there is more to come.

a.  If postage rates change as usual this spring, then the system will have to be changed so that the new value of 2nd class letter stamp is used to determine how many new stamps are supplied in exchange for those for which there is no direct equivalent. (This is, in essence, another effect of the point made on 13 December above).

b. However there are four other NVIs at least - 2 x Signed For, 2 x Special Delivery - and the worldwide airmail stamps which will have a new higher value.  This will be important when aggregating the total and these details will have to change in the system as well.  (This would not have been a problem if the usage hadn't been extended to 31 July.)

Currently for 100 x 1st Large Letter stamps the calculation is (100 x 235p) / 68p = 345.58 stamps.

If the rates rise to £2.45 and 70p, then it will be (100 x 245p) / 70p = 350 stamps.

If they fail to change one or the other their calculation might be:

(100 x 245) / 68 = 360.3 stamps or (100 x 235) / 70 = 335 stamps.

Be alert to swaps after the rate change and before 1 August.

Comments are now open for questions not answered here, and your experiences not already mentioned on previous posts.



The earlier post

For the record, here are elements of the earlier blogpost nor repeated above.  I have excluded anything shown or corrected above (I hope),  and if you want to read about the experiences of other readers I suggest you go back to the original here.

31 March 2022

Royal Mail will launch an ongoing nationwide awareness programme, that will run throughout the year, to ensure that everyone who wishes to swap out their stamps will have the opportunity to do so. The campaign will include press and radio advertising and a national door drop leaflet delivered to every household in the UK.


There are two Swap-out forms, one for consignments worth up to £200 and one for bulk swaps.

For consignments under £200, gummed stamps (ie not self-adhesive) must be stuck to the form. Self-adhesive stamps should remain affixed to their original backing paper.

For bulk consignments, gummed stamps must not be stuck to paper and must instead be clearly batched by the stamp value and colour in clear plastic bags of 50 stamps (less than 50 stamps must be collated together in value order). [1]


Some dealers I have spoken to have confirmed that they will trim their Machin stocks according to popularity. It makes sense if you overstocked on some values to liquidate them now, especially if they were purchased at a lower price than the current tariff.

Those dealers who already offer discount postage – and probably some who don't – will offer discounted barcoded stamps after trading-in because they will be hugely overstocked with those.

Another has said that they will consider retiring more quickly and get the benefit of full value for at least the Machin & Country stocks. And that is where life gets difficult – what does he do with £50,000-worth of barcoded 2nd class stamps?


If you are a collector, it is time to sort your collection and check all packets and stock-books for mint duplicates, or for gaps in your collection. If you are going to carry on collecting, look out for dealer special offers. 

Postage and losses

Anybody using the scheme can use the address FREEPOST Swap Out.

[My earlier blogpost included an extract from the Terms and Conditions but these have changed from time to time - the latest was on 7 November 2022.

Many comments on the above were actually answered in the blog itself, and if not, were answered in the comments.  Most have now been realised, but I will mention these:

Post & Go:  On 8 March Royal Mail customer service confirmed (wrongly) that Post and Go stamps would become invalid.  This is not the case at all and it was never intended that they would be. 

'E' & Airmail stamps: some early submissions were processed without these being replaced but I haven't heard of such an instance recently,

Postage refund: similarly some early submissions had returns for the stamps but not the postage.  Nobody has mentioned this in the last few months so things must have settled down.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Mixed content retail booklets: will there be any more?

A number of collectors - and dealers - have asked if there will be any Mixed Content retail booklets with barcoded definitives - Gibbons' PM series.

Mixed content retail booklet of 6 x 1st class 'RAF Centenary' stamps.


I asked my Royal Mail contacts and the answer is that there has been no formal decision not to have any more.

However, the production process for Mixed Content booklets is more complex than for ordinary retail booklets as not all the matrix is removed and a larger number of cylinders is required than for single-value booklets.  The barcoding adds an extra level of complexity and cost.  

So while these may reappear in the future, I wouldn't expect to see any with Machin definitives, and it's probably unlikely that we will see any more until a good reason is found to produce them.

One of the original reasons for their production was to introduce to stamp users who bought only booklets something other than the definitives, in the hope that this might encourage them to investigate and buy other products in the issue.  

However the stamps and packs are not sold where many people buy their stamps (ie supermarkets) and  fewer post office branches have stocks of special stamps, so this suggestion would depend on people buying their stamps from Royal Mail's online shop, something which was never actually advertised on the booklets!

Monday 14 November 2022

Tutankhamun set, MS & PSB - 24 November 2022 -- full details

Tutankhamun Discovery 1972 stamp

Royal Mail is marking 100 years since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by British archaeologist Howard Carter with a new set of Special Stamps and a Miniature Sheet.  The remarkable discovery has shaped historians’ understanding of the religion, rituals and culture of ancient Egypt to this day.

UPDATE 12 December:  Royal Mail's website now indicates that the PSB (and year books etc) will be available from 19 December; the definitive pane has been distributed to dealers.

UPDATE 21 December: My PSB was posted special delivery yesterday and arrived today. Ordinary customers should get theirs in January by ordinary mail.

Details from Royal Mail

In early November 1922, a few months after Egypt became independent, the eyes of the world turned to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor with the announcement of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by a team led by Howard Carter and funded by Lord Carnarvon – the first intact royal burial found in Egypt. 

On 26 November 1922, Carter made a small hole in the sealed inner doorway of the tomb and peered in. He later recalled: “At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. When Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.’.” 

The tomb contained food and wine, clothing, jewellery and furniture – ritual items to enable the king’s journey into the afterlife. Tutankhamun’s body lay protected within a layered arrangement of four gilded shrines, erected around a sarcophagus containing three nested coffins. On 28 October 1925, Carter lifted the innermost coffin’s lid to reveal the king’s wrapped body; covering the head was what is now the most iconic object from the tomb – a gold mask. 

As well as a team of experienced Egyptian excavators, Carter and Carnarvon gathered a group of specialists to record and conserve the tomb’s objects, including the photographer Harry Burton from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, whose images evocatively recorded the undisturbed tomb and captivated international audiences. It would take the team ten years to clear, document and conserve over 5,000 objects packed into the small tomb. The objects are in the Grand Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the excavation documentation is in the archive of the Griffith Institute, the centre for Egyptology at the University of Oxford.

The stamps

Set of 8 stamps issued 24 November 2022 to mark the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb by Howard Carter.

2nd Class - Head Of The King The head of the king emerging from a lotus flower represents part of the ancient Egyptian creation myth when the infant sun-god Re appears from a lotus flower floating on the primordial waters. Tutankhamun, like Re and the sun, would also be born again each day. The head was found in the rubble of the entrance corridor, and its unusual placement may have allowed it to function as a magical portal that enabled the king to leave and return to his tomb each day. Alternatively, it may have been dropped there by robbers, possibly after they had stripped valuable earrings from the pierced ears.

2nd Class -  Inlaid Fan Fans provided cool air and shade. Eight were found in the tomb, all beautifully decorated and originally fitted with ostrich feathers (long since perished). Oval namerings, or ‘cartouches’, were used exclusively for kings’ names, and they decorate many of Tutankhamun’s possessions, including this inlaid fan found placed between two of the shrines in the burial chamber. Two vultures, representing the goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nekhbet and Wadjet, protect the king’s cartouches. The left cartouche, assigned to the king on his accession, reads Nebkheperure (‘The lordly manifestation of Re’), while the right cartouche contains his birth name, Tutankhamun (‘Living image of Amun’).

1st Class - Gold Mask
The mask of Tutankhamun is now the most iconic object from the tomb, revealed in October 1925 when the innermost coffin’s lid was opened. Covering the head, neck and upper chest of the king’s wrapped body, the mask’s face is an idealised portrait of the young Tutankhamun. He wears the striped nemes headdress with the royal insignia of the heads of a cobra and a vulture on his brow, a long plaited false beard (not shown in Harry Burton’s photo, above, as it was temporarily removed for conservation and photographed separately), and a broad collar covering his chest and shoulders. The ancient Egyptians believed that gold was the flesh of the gods; accordingly, the mask is made of pure gold inlaid with blue glass and semi-precious stones.

1st Class - Falcon Pendant
This falcon pendant (or pectoral) portrays the sun-god Re-Harakhty, a merged form of the royal god Horus and the sun-god Re. The king was a living god, who embodied Horus and was also the ‘son of Re’. The falcon is associated with these gods and with kingship. The hovering falcon wears the sun disk on its head and grasps the symbols for ‘eternity’ and ‘life’ in its talons. The pendant was found inside a box in the so-called treasury, and is composed of gold inlaid with semi-precious stones and coloured glass

£1.85 - Lion Couch
When Carter peered into the tomb’s antechamber, the first objects he glimpsed were the “gilded couches in strange forms, lion-headed, Hathor-headed, and beast infernal”. The sides of the three couches or beds are modelled in animal form, including the lion couch with its striking inlaid eyes and nose, made from crystal and blue glass. The couches were used during the funerary rites; they represent the three mother-goddesses present at different stages of the king’s passage towards rebirth. The lion-panther goddess, Set-Mehtet, was responsible for his transformation into a divine being.

£1.85 - Throne
Lord Carnarvon referred to the so-called ‘gold throne’ as “perhaps the most important item among the entire contents of the tomb”. The throne is made from gilded wood with gold sheets applied to the seat and backrest, and is lavishly carved and decorated. On the backrest is an intricately composed scene created from thousands of inlays made from coloured glass, lapis lazuli and other materials. The young king is seated in a pavilion, attended by his wife, Queen Ankhesenamun, who stands before him. He wears a short curly wig and a diadem, topped by an elaborate, tall, plumed crown with pendant cobras.

£2.55 - Boat Model
Found in the fourth chamber, named the annexe, this unique boat model is made from calcite (Egyptian alabaster) and decorated with gold, ivory, faience (ceramic-like material) and coloured pigments. The boat, with ibex-headed prow and stern, is supported on a box-shaped pedestal. Amidships is a papyrus-columned pavilion, in front of which kneels a girl holding a lotus flower, and at the stern stands a female dwarf holding a pole. Although the object’s purpose is uncertain, its design may be connected to the king’s rebirth, the naked female figures and ibex being symbols of fertility and rejuvenation.

£2.55 - Guardian Statue
This imposing life-size statue of Tutankhamun, made of black painted wood with gilded details, shows the king wearing the striped nemes headdress with the uraeus serpent at the front, the symbol of royal authority. The uraeus represents Wadjet, the protector goddess of Lower Egypt, in the form of a cobra. In Egyptian belief, black symbolised regeneration because it was associated with the dark, fertile soil deposited by the Nile during the annual inundation. Often referred to as a ‘guardian statue’, it is one of a pair found in the antechamber, positioned on either side of the burial chamber’s sealed doorway, which Carter described as “facing each other like sentinels”.

Miniature Sheet

Following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Howard Carter immediately recognised the size of the task that lay ahead of him and gathered a team of specialists to record and conserve the tomb and its contents. Alongside their immediate circle of Egyptological colleagues, he also depended on a group of skilled and experienced Egyptians who had worked alongside him for many years and were able to meet all the challenges and practical difficulties the excavation presented. 

Miniature sheet issued 24 November 2022 to mark the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb by Howard Carter.

Harry Burton was the only photographer permitted to work inside the tomb during the excavation. Burton took two views of each area, one showing all the objects in place and another after numbered cards had been placed beside each object, assigning it a reference number. Burton used glass-plate negatives, and each exposure took several seconds or even minutes. Burton then processed the negatives in a darkroom set up in an adjacent tomb.

  • The Miniature Sheet contains an additional four stamps which capture the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb through a selection of photographs taken by Burton

  • The background of the Miniature Sheet is a photograph of the entrance to the tomb


1st Class Objects in the antechamber
Harry Burton was a pioneer of archaeological photography, and his view of the objects in the tomb’s antechamber demonstrates his camera and lighting skills. Taken before anything was touched, it illustrates the “wonderful things” first seen by Howard Carter on 26 November 1922.

1st Class Head of the outermost coffin
Taken on 5 February 1925, Burton’s intimate study of the head from the lid of the outermost coffin evokes the stillness of the tomb; the royal insignia, with vulture and cobra on Tutankhamun’s forehead, are still adorned with a tiny garland.

£1.85 Examining the innermost coffin
Some photographs were carefully staged, including one capturing Carter, with an Egyptian colleague, examining the innermost coffin. Carter poses motionless, as the camera focuses on his tool-equipped hand, which investigates the blackened funerary unguents covering the coffin’s lid.

£1.85 Moving small shrine to laboratory
Journalists and tourists headed to the Valley of the Kings to witness the world-famous event, many taking their own cameras. Most of their photographs show the team transporting objects from the tomb to the nearby conservation laboratory.


Technical Details

The 37 x 35 mm stamps were designed by Andy Altmann and printed in litho by Cartor Security Printers in sheets of 60 (in se-tenant pairs) perforated 14x14.5.  Two phosphor bands except the 2nd class which has a single band justified left to avoid it printing over the facial image.  Acknowledgements:objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun by kind permission of The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) Project; photographs © Araldo De Luca.

The miniature sheet is also designed by Andy Altmann and printed in litho by Cartor Security Printers using photographs by Harry Burton © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford. "Moving small shrine' photograph © David Cole/Alamy Stock Photo.   The 146 x 74 mm sheet contains four stamps 41 x 30 mm.  The MS is not printed in 4-colour litho - it appears to be shades of grey/black and shades of olive.

Royal Mail have confirmed:  Black and a gold for the background;  Yellow for the heads, values and captions.   

Prestige Stamp Book

Entitled ‘Finding a Pharaoh’ the Prestige Stamp Book includes a wealth of fascinating insight into the discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb in 1922, compiled with help from Egyptology experts, the Griffith Institute. Packed with illustrations and photography which tell the story of Howard Carter’s career and journey to excavation in the ‘Valley of Kings’ in Egypt. Includes original photographs, sketches, notes and artefacts to tell the story. Includes four stamp panes containing all twelve Tutankhamun stamps plus a pane of definitive stamps unique to the issue

All the stamps are said to be printed in lithography; the special stamps are comventionally gummed and the definitives are self-adhesive.  If true, these will be the first barcoded definitives are printed in lithography rather than gravure.

UPDATE 28 December:  My thanks to petemk for pointing out what I hadn't had time to read, that the definitive pane is printed in gravure - and this is stated in the book itself.  It is distressing that the production department within Royal Mail does not provide full accurate and up to date information to the Stamps & Collectibles department so that dealers and collectors know what they have from the outset - or know what to expect.  Assuming the text in the book itself is correct - why was that not relayed for the dealer news briefing back in October?

Machin definitives: the booklet pane contains two each 10p & 20p, a single £1.85 definitives and a label.  I expect the security coding will be M22L and MPIL - confirmed!

UPDATE 21 November:   Royal Mail's website now indicates that the PSB will be available from 12 December, and the definitive pane FDC from 28 November. 

UPDATE 12 December:   Royal Mail's website now indicates that the PSB (and year books etc) will be available from 19 December; the definitive pane has been distributed to dealers.

UPDATE 21 December: My PSB was posted special delivery yesterday and arrived today. Ordinary customers should get theirs in January by ordinary mail. 

Tutankhamun prestige stamp book cover

UPDATE 15 December.  Now that the actual definitive pane has arrived I can show scans of the pane and stamps.  This pane seems to be very difficult to colour match on my old scanner, taken as a whole.  On the 10p & 20p stamp the appearance of the background, which should be plain white, is affected by both the iridescent ink and the security printing on the backing paper.

Detail of iridescent printing on 10p M22L MPIL

10p barcoded definitive stamp from Tutankhamun prestige stamp book coded M22L MPIL

Detail of iridescent printing on 20p M22L MPIL

20p barcoded definitive stamp from Tutankhamun prestige stamp book coded M22L MPIL

£1.85 barcoded definitive stamp from Tutankhamun prestige stamp book coded M22L MPIL

Scan of actual Tutankhamun prestige stamp book definitive stamp pane coded M22L MPIL



Set of stamps, miniature sheet, prestige stamp book, first day covers (3), presentation pack, postcards, press sheet of 18 miniature sheets, medal cover, framed products.  The press sheet has two columns with barcodes and one without.

As usual we will not be stocking these.


Sunday 13 November 2022

Ever more thoughts on Royal Mail Invalidation of non-barcoded definitive stamps: usage deadline extended by six months.

A number of people have written to tell me of the news appearing in the Mail on Sunday today, but I wanted to get an official statement, untainted by rhetoric or back-patting by journalists one of whom, at least, I have spoken to on this subject.

Official statement from Royal Mail's Matthew Parkes, Managing Director Stamps and Collectibles :


Royal Mail is transitioning to digital, barcoded stamps in order to provide new and innovative future services for our customers. In order to give our customers even more time to use up any remaining non-barcoded stamps, we have decided to introduce a six month grace period starting from the original deadline of January 31 2023 where non-barcoded definitive stamps will still be delivered as normal. 


To make things even easier for our customers, we have also agreed with Post Office to include swap out forms alongside freepost envelopes in Post Office branches. This means that customers will be able to fill out a form, insert it into a freepost envelope with any remaining non-barcoded stamps and hand it over for posting in a Post Office branch.




Royal Mail first announced the transition to barcoded stamps in February 2022. Under the original scheme, Royal Mail had planned to stop accepting letters bearing non-barcoded stamps into its network from January 31.

Customers will not be out of pocket as there is no end date as to when customers should swap their non-barcoded stamps by. Customers will still be able to access the “Swap out” option after 31 January 2023. The process of swapping out is free and we are sending a leaflet and a swap out form to all 31 million UK addresses to make this even easier.


It seems that Royal Mail are following the governments of the UK in performing U-turns.  I suspect that the Post Office didn't want to get involved, at least not without being paid, although I know of at least one Crown office which has produced some forms because the attached Royal Mail Enquiry Office is only open for two hours early in the morning, on most days of the week and they keep getting enquiries!

And this leaflet, which can be used instead of one of the proper forms, has been delivered to many households already.

I suppose they will produce another one now.  Of course the Swap-Out scheme is open ended at present, and mixing the two dates into one story has been a feature of tabloid journalism for several months now.

Don't forget that instead of using the basic Freepost address you should use this address which will avoid any possibility of Post Office branches refusing to provide a certificate of posting.

I read somewhere, but not in the latest Mail article, that the number of people handling the stamps sent in had been trebled although there is no confirmation that this has happened.

Saturday 12 November 2022

November 2022 Miscellaneous Updates

Most of the year's limited Post and Go news is in the January blogpost, along with very many comments. My thanks to Malcolm, Trevor, Chris and many anonymous correspondents.  Here for the record is this year's Postal Museum Lest We Forget Poppy stamp.

The Postal Museum Lest We Forget 2022 inscription on MA15 Poppy stamp.

Datamatrix Machin Dates

A number of additions have been made to the original list and if you have any more I would be very pleased to add them, with scans of course.




We're more than half way to the prize date when 5,555,555 page views are reached. Don't forget to take a timed screen capture - after you have refreshed the page.  Earliest one wins the prize!


The Mail on Sunday is claiming a victory in its efforts to defer the entirely reasonable deadline for using pre-barcoded stamps, and says that forms and envelopes will be available from Post Offices (how many?)   I'm waiting for an official copy of the press release. 

Update - story confirmed, see Royal Mail Press Release.

Lunar New Year Generic/Collector Sheet: Year of the Rabbit - 8 December 2022

It's that time of year again when, about six weeks before the event, Royal Mail issue the Lunar New Year Collector Sheet in time for the Chinese population to buy it and either use the stamps & labels or gift them to the friends. 

This year is the 12th in the series, and is announced as the final instalment in the Lunar New Year Collector Sheet series.  

The Year of the Rabbit runs from 22 January 2023 to 9 February 2024. 

The labels are designed by hat-trick design and feature paper cut-outs both on the bright red background of the sheet and the labels representing the five elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. All the labels are complemented by the Fireworks definitive-sized stamp. 

2023 is specifically the year of the 'Water Rabbit' and those born in a 'Water Rabbit' Year are thought to be gentle, amicable, able to adjust readily to different conditions, as well as having slightly a weak mindset and principles. Lucky numbers are 3, 4 and 5 and lucky colours for 'Rabbits' are red, pink, purple and blue. 

We've not been given an embargo date for this so I shan't reveal it at present.   Instead I'll show one of the previous 11 sheets.

Year of the Rooster/Cockerel Collector/Generic sheet.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

November 2022 slogan postmarks and other interesting postal markings

November started with continuation of the Swap-Out slogan which now seems to be the default, for obvious reasons.  If we get or anybody sends a copy of good impressions in November it will be posted here. 

The first new slogan for November is for Armistice Day, my thanks to JH for sending this reasonable example from Birmingham Mail Centre dated 08/11/2022

Lest We Forget.
Armistice Day

11 November 2022

Lest We Forget slogan used at Birmingham Mail Centre 08/11/2022

UPDATE 10 November: My thanks to the ever-reliable RW who has sent this version from Southampton (his Exeter ones are usually unusable, though1)

Lest We Forget slogan used at Southampton Portsmouth & IOW Mail Centre 08/11/2022

UPDATE 23 November:   Somebody at Exeter Mail Centre has found some ink!  Thanks to RW for this image which has been sent back from Hong Kong, showing a clear Lest We Forget slogan in the iLSM format for 10-11-22

Lest We Forget slogan used at Exeter Mail Centre 10-11-2022


UPDATE 15 November.  Royal Mail were quick to generate a slogan postmark to mark the success of the England cricketers' success over Pakistan in the T20 World Cup Final, announcing this slogan on social media at 1.30pm on Sunday.

Men's T20
World Cup Winners
13 November 2022

Royal Mail's social media feed showed this publicity picture at 1.30 on Final Day

My thanks to MM and AT for sending examples, both in a similar layout so far.  The five-line format from Jubilee Mail Centre and the four-line format from South Midlands Mail Centre on a c5 envelope with a PPI, so quite unnecessary!  This is being used from 14 to 17 November.

Men's Cricket T20 World Cup Winners slogan, Jubilee Mail Centre 14-11-2022

Men's Cricket T20 World Cup Winners slogan, South Midlands Mail Centre 14-11-2022

My thanks to JBS who has supplied the best image so far, surprisingly from Exeter Mail Centre!

Men's Cricket T20 World Cup Winners slogan, Exeter Mail Centre 14-11-2022

UPDATE 23 November: Thanks to JG who supplied this much clearer image from the IMP machine from the SE Wales Mail Centre dated 14/11/22

Men's Cricket T20 World Cup Winners slogan, SE Wales Mail Centre 14/11/2022


UPDATE 23 November:   The default 'Swap-Out' slogan has been used from time to time in November.  Here's a particularly clear example from Manchester's IMP machine dated 21/11/22 thanks to JG

Use non-barcoded stamps slogan used at Manchester Mail Centre 21/11/2012






I would expect a new Christmas-related slogan to appear before the end of the month.


My thanks to LT for sending this image of a letter posted at Ore Post Office in Sussex. It's another case of using up Machins (4 x 17p for 68p 2nd class), and with a very clear 'CONTINGENCY BRANCH 64' self-inking datestamp.

Contingency Branch 64 self-inking datestamp used at Ore, Sussex, 11 NOV 2022.



This is the place where all news about November postmarks - provided by readers or discovered by us - will be posted.  Please check back and refresh the page before sending anything which may have already been sent since you last looked: this will save you time scanning and writing.  Variants on postmarks already shown are also welcome.